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Int J Health Serv. 2015;45(2):306-19. doi: 10.1177/0020731414568510.

International recruitment of health workers: British lessons for Europe? Emerging concerns and future research recommendations.


Immigration as a solution to staff and skill shortages in the health system is increasingly on the agenda in the European Union. This article highlights the related social and policy dilemmas by comparing a new destination country with an old destination country: Spain and the United Kingdom. After describing the challenges met by the United Kingdom, we ask how well-prepared Spain is to face the same issues. In particular, attention is paid to the occupational mobility of health workers after entry and to how immigration as a staffing solution poses new political and social challenges. Through a review of background information regarding the immigration of health workers in the two countries and the preliminary analysis of 15 exploratory interviews, we aim to identify the primary trends and key concerns for future analysis. Although our interviews only allow us to draw tentative conclusions, they do highlight emerging issues to be explored in the near future. Our conclusions show that many of the problems traditionally encountered in the United Kingdom are now emerging in Spain, suggesting scope for further collaboration among government, employers, and other stakeholders across the European Union.


Spain; UK; health workers; migration; mobility; recruitment

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